Candlemass - "Psalms For The Dead" Get Ready to be Biotch Slapped by Awesome Guitars

If you've got evil in your mind; it will not be purged with this album. Candlemass's Psalms For The Dead will only enhance your evil, set it aflame. Like your metal with loud guitars, hard driving drum beats, and plenty of opportunities for headbanging? Then Candlemass's Psalms For The Dead is for you. It's wickedly heavy.

Prophet is very heavy metal. It has great guitar work by Mats Bjorkman and Lars Johansson. There are Eruo prog metal overtones via Per Wiberg on keyboards. Prophet is richly layered and full of bitchin' guitar solos and interludes. Jan Lindh on drums pounds your sense to oblivion. The song end with 74 seconds of pure sludgy dirge-like evilness.

The Sound of Dying Demons just oozes atmosphere. Robert Lowe's voice whispers of evil doings. The song is slow, painfully heavily slow. You ache and labour to get thru it. Candlemass has put the heavy back into heavy metal! At 3:01 you get biotch slapped by the guitar solo. The sped up pace doesn't detract from the molt lava slowness of the song. As abruptly as it starts, it's over only to be replaced by a moment of tribal drums and eery guitar work.


Dancing In The Temple (Of The Mad Queen Bee) is a freaking mouthful for a title. The lyrics are quite ace. The story is epic. To be sure, it's a lyric poem set to music; very medieval in tone and feel.

Any song that artfully utilizes a wah pedal is tops in my book. Therefor, Waterwitch is tops. The song is wicked and bone crushingly heavy. I love Robert Lowe's voice on this track. It's creepy and gives me the chills. It's not a song you want to listen to alone in the dark. It's the stuff of nightmares. Well done Candlemass! Definite two thumbs up!

The Lights of Thebe is another song that has amazing atmosphere. The song opens with 44 seconds of ominous keyboards provided by Per Wiberg. The lyrics are as ominous as the music. Magic. Dragons. Evil. All of it is wrapped together in unholy heaviness. "I am the son of god. My madness is my own." Sweet mother of pearl! That's just fuckin' awesome. At times the song has shades of Deep Purple's Perfect Strangers. That just adds to the awesomeness of the song.

The title track Psalms For The Dead is a mind frak. At one point you have the drums, keyboards and guitars very prominent. But it's disjointed. They weren't working together, but instead were three separate and distinct tracks. Each was very much in your face vying for attention. It's a bit unnerving. After a while they coalesce and mix 'like they are supposed to'. I don't know if this was done on purpose for effect, if it was a quirk of mixing, or my crappy iPod earbuds failed me; but the effect was odd and weird but lent very well to the song.

The Killing of the Sun has some chunky guitar riffage happening and sweet pounding drums. Siren Song has a keyboard solo and interlude that sounds like an old Moog. Both songs remind me of the over the top prog rock songs of the 70s; very bombastic and grandiose.

Black As Time has a 1:36 spoken word opener that introduces this blistering track. The song show cases more solid guitar work by Mats and Lars. It has some slow dirge-like passages and even a wicked bass interlude before a headbanging guitar solo. Black As Time then segues into a trippy spacey keyboard solo before returning to the prog metal tempo.

Psalms For The Dead is a fantastic follow up to 2009's Death Magic Doom. The three years between studio albums was worth the wait as Psalms is a killer collection of sludgy, wicked, progressive, heavy metal. It's a shame that Robert Lowe won't be singing any of this music live. I am open minded enough to hear if Mats Leven can carry the intensity and wickedness of vocal duty on tour.

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